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AltaMed Health Services Awarded Nearly $1 Million to Address High Obesity Rates in Los Angeles County

March 2, 2017 - Press Release

LOS ANGELES – AltaMed Health Services, the nation’s largest federally qualified community health center, was awarded $880,000 from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health with funding from the California Department of Public Health and the United States Department of Agriculture. The grant will support the Champions for Change - Healthy Communities Initiative, which aims to reduce the prevalence of obesity among low-income Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education eligible populations in East Los Angeles and the cities of Commerce and Bell. The program provides nutrition education, physical activity promotion, and working to create healthier environments for low-income individuals and families where they live, learn, work, play, pray, and shop.

Key efforts under the initiative include teaching fundamental skills such as cooking, reading food labels, shopping on a budget, growing fruits and vegetables, and introducing low-cost and fun ways to be physically active. In addition, champions in communities throughout the County will be identified to help improve access to healthier foods and increase opportunities to be physically active in a variety of settings, including early childcare centers, schools, faith-based organizations, corner stores, parks, worksites, and cities.

“AltaMed is pleased to be a part of this County-wide initiative, as we are uniquely positioned to reach underserved families of East Los Angeles,” explained Cástulo de la Rocha, CEO and president of AltaMed Health Services. “We are working toward making notable changes in our community by focusing on developing programs with our local schools, restaurants and corner stores to make healthier foods more affordable and available as well as identify ways to integrate physical activity into the day to improve the overall health for families in East Los Angeles.

According to the LA County: A Cities and Communities Health Report, obesity-related chronic illnesses continue to rank among the top ten leading causes of premature death, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. While the obesity epidemic continues to impact virtually all population groups, about 26% of children and 26.6%of adults in East Los Angeles are obese. For Latinos the situation is much worse. Latinos (29.4%) have much higher adult obesity rates than whites (17.6%) and Asians/Pacific Islanders (8.9%). Among school-aged children, Pacific Islanders (37.1%) and Latinos (27.5%) have the highest obesity rates.

“Reducing obesity is a priority of Public Health and a key objective of the Champions for Change - Healthy Communities Initiative,” said Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, Interim Health Officer of Los Angeles County. “By investing in our communities and the people that we serve, we are hopeful that we can make impactful, long-lasting changes for better health outcomes.”

To learn more about AltaMed Health Services, visit www.AltaMed.org or call 1-877-462-2582.

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